Ever wonder why God didn’t list the Ten Commandments in reverse order, since the 10th commandment is linked to the first sin—desire. Eve’s sin wasn’t simply her desire for a piece of fruit; it was the desire for knowledge that Satan told her would make her like God. Genesis 3:4-5,Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Eve’s covetousness caused her to violate both the first and tenth commands that God later gave to Moses. Exodus 20:1-17, And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
When we don’t covet, we pretty much eliminate our reasons to disobey the other commands. Wanting what isn’t ours can cause us to lie, steal, murder, commit adultery, and refuse to honor our parents. We refuse to rest because we can’t get what we want in 6 days of work. We make gods out of wealth and relationships because we don’t want to have to put all of our trust in God.
I think we would have a hard time coming up with sins that don’t involve some sort of covetousness/selfishness—an “I want” attitude. Yet, because covetousness is the last in the list, we can tend to think of it as being least important. But it is not. James 1:13-15, Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
When we stop sin while it is still in our hearts and our heads, we avoid making others the victims of our sin, and we avoid many of the serious consequences of sin. Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Remember, God’s gifts to you were designed for you! Contentment is realizing that God has already given me all I need. This week Shari and I had the opportunity to listen to Charles Crabtree at a minister’s dinner. He said something that I would like to share with you all. “If your holiness makes you angry, you are a Pharisee. The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Even if we only had one gift, “the gift of salvation,” we should consider ourselves very fortunate to have a relationship with our Creator and escape hell.
Matthew 6:33, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.